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Posted on Apr 9, 2015

2 haystack fires called ‘suspicious’

A couple of haystack fires last week has local fire officials wondering if the two are connected.

The haystack fires were late at night and within a couple of days of one another, with the first on April 1 near Martin Road and Road K and the second on April 4 at Road 6, said Tony Liebelt, assistant fire chief at Grant County Fire District No. 3.

The haystacks were fully engulfed when firefighters arrived on scene. The April 1 fire burned about 600 tons of hay, and the April 4 fire burned about 516 tons of hay, said Bruce Gribble, chief deputy fire marshal for Grant County. The April 1 fire also burned a storage structure.

Both fires are suspicious and under investigation, Gribble said.

Officials are investigating whether the fires were gang-related, Gribble said. The investigation at the Martin Road fire found tagging on a couple of grain bins, he said. In some areas, such as the Tri-Cities, burning haystacks has become a form of gang initiation, Gribble said.

Anyone with information about the fires is asked to contact the fire marshal’s office at 754-2011, extension 3001, or email the Grant County Sheriff’s Office at


— By Jill FitzSimmons,